Well-Known Tampico Man Dies After House Fire

Charles Combs, 83, of rural Tampico died from smoke inhalation after lightning is believed to have struck his home early Thursday morning, May 14.

Firefighters from Grassy Fork and Vernon Township responded to a house fire at 5:45 a.m. at 4234 East County Road 700 South southwest of Tampico.

According to authorities, firefighters removed Combs from the rear of the residence. Police said he apparently was able to make it to the back door but was not able to open it.

Combs was being treated for smoke inhalation when he stopped breathing. Rescue workers continued to work on Combs until an ambulance crew arrived.

Roger Wheeler, Jackson County Coroner, reported that Combs was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner has ruled the cause of deathdue to smoke inhalation.

Preliminary investigations indicate the cause of the house fire was due to a lightning strike, authorities said. The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office has been contacted to follow up on the house fire.

Charles L. Combs was born March 21, 1926 in Little York to the late Issaac Combs and Blanche (Lester) Combs.

He was a retired construction worker for Repp and Mundt Company in Columbus and was a farmer. He was a U.S. Army veteran of WW II, a member of the Knights of Pythias Club #60 in Brownstown, a 60+ year member of the Mount Wilson American Legion Post #473 in Little York, Jackson County Conservation Club and the Norman Station Conservation Club.

He was married to Ines Marie Combs preceded him in death on Nov. 11, 1999.

He is survived by a son John S. (Peggy) Combs of Vallonia; a sister, Mattie Richardson of Austin; five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by five brothers, Ralph, Thomas, Joseph, Paul and Issaac Combs, Jr..

The funeral was conducted Monday from Collins Funeral Home in Scottsburg with burial in Russell Chapel Cemetery.